The rumors are true: NFL Blitz is back. Last year EA Sports hit gold when it re-created NBA Jam just like the fans remember it, and now it's turning its attention to Midway's other sports classic, NFL Blitz.
The game is scheduled for a January release on PSN and XBLA, and will cost $14.99. With that comes more than just a re-make of the old Blitz. Although original designer Mark Turmell played a big part in the game's creation before he left developer EA Tiburon, and there are familiar elements of the original Blitz throughout this new creation (such as the original playbooks, announcer Tim Kitzrow, the top-down camera, augmented old animations, etc.), the team wants this be more than a chance to download nostalgia.
EA Tiburon may want this NFL Blitz to feel the same, but they also want to add on to the experience in their own way. The single-player Blitz Gauntlet mode features tiers of NFL teams that end in boss battles. These are against fantasy creations and come complete with power ups you can pick up one the field and use.
These same power ups are also playable in the online Elite League mode. Similar to EA Sports' Ultimate Team card mode in its various titles, Elite League focuses on building a great team through card collection. You can trade in complete sets of NFL team player cards for individual Pro and Ultimate Player cards that have maxed skill ratings. And if you want to take a risky short cut to building up your team, you can always participate in a pink slip game where the winner gets to choose any card out of the loser's deck – as they watch in horror.
NFL Blitz also has a more traditional online structure in its Blitz Battles mode. Here you work your way up the local, regional, and national leaderboards (by yourself or with a friend) towards earning a spot in the Blitz Hall of Fame. Along the way you'll battle through tiers within each of the three leaderboards, as well as play rank-up games in order to progress to the next leaderboard.
Naturally, there will be an online store you can spend your Blitz Bucks in, and this includes cheats. Although any of the gameplay cheats will be disable for online play, you can use any visual cheats (like stadiums) you want for online play.
Perhaps EA Tiburon's approach is the best way to handle this kind of situation. Try and keep the gameplay that people love intact while augmenting it with different structural changes that try and add some depth. We'll be sure to tell you what we think about the game when we get our hands on it in the future.